Industry Leaders Explore Collaborative Opportunities, Common Goals at Focus on the Future

PHOENIX- Leading industry executives from the supply, manufacturing and retail channels met in Scottsdale at Virgo Publishing's fourth annual Focus on the Future Executive Conference & Retreat for four days of networking, educational sessions and industry discussion. More than 160 participants attended, a 15 percent growth over 2005, including representatives from NBTY, Natrol, Herbalife International, Pharmanex, Ideasphere and many other organizations. The event moved to a new location this year, the Caleo Resort & Spa, which is closer to the center of Old Town Scottsdale than the previous location.

"Focus on the Future brings together the best in the industry as we discuss strategies and tactics shaping our business and consumer health", stated John Venardos, vice president of worldwide regulatory and government affairs for Herbalife International. "It's a unique forum and excellent networking opportunity."

"This conference continues to grow because it offers the opportunity to build key relationships, discuss pressing current issues and generate ideas for future collaboration," said Jon Benninger, Virgo Publishing's director of business development. "The format allows for conversations to continue at a variety of networking receptions and events."

The 4th Annual Golf Outing kicked off Focus on the Future on Tuesday, Jan. 31, with 36 golfers playing at the Camelback Inn Golf Course. That evening, participants attended a Welcome Reception, sponsored by NSF International. Following the reception, participants headed to a unique welcome presentation given by Howard Schiffer, founder of the Vitamin Angel Alliance. During his presentation, Schiffer presented humanitarian Arc Angel Awards to Linda Kahler from Rainbow Light, George Joseph from American Ingredients/Pharmachem and Anne Dirks from Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy.

The education program, sponsored by Kemin Health, began Wednesday morning and ran through end of day Thursday. A total of six FutureFocus presentations covered topics including government regulations; building value throughout the ingredient chain; supplement usage for athletes from high school to professionals; the role dietary supplements can play in health care; the state of quality in the industry; and marketing trends and forecasts. In addition to the six FutureFocus presentations, AOAC International's Jim Bradford and Anita Mishra gave a special presentation on how the dietary supplement industry can raise the quality, safety and efficacy of its products by working together with AOAC.

The speakers in the education program were:
· Scott Bass, Esq., partner, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood
· Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., director, Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
· Loren D. Israelsen, president, LDI Group Inc.
· Mitchell M. May, Ph.D., founder and CEO, The Synergy Company and Synergy Production Laboratories
· Steven M. Mister, Esq., president and CEO, Council for Responsible Nutrition
· Marlene Ross, executive director, marketing, NBTY/U.S. Nutrition
· A. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., president, Sloan Trends & Solutions Inc.
· Doug Stevenson, manager of global technical services R&D, Pharmanex
· Cheryl Sturm, strategic marketing manager, Kemin Health
· Jay Udani, M.D., medical director, Integrative Medicine Program at Northridge Hospital, and assistant clinical professor, UCLA/Geffen School of Medicine
· John Venardos, vice president, worldwide regulatory and government affairs, Herbalife International of America Inc.

“We have been the Focus on the Future education sponsor since the first event four years ago. We feel this conference has the caliber of participants who make decisions that can shape the industry today and tomorrow,” said Cheryl Sturm, strategic marketing manager for Kemin Health.

"I was impressed with the organization of the conference as it provided unique networking opportunities with top-level industry management and also integrated in-depth educational presentations on current important topics by leaders in their respective fields", said Ideasphere's vice president of product development R&D, Henry Choi, Ph.D. "The panel discussion format was especially accommodating in promoting interaction for participants and speakers."

The networking opportunities spanned the four days of the conference supported by individual sponsors. Continental breakfasts were sponsored by Consultants Association for the Natural Products Industry (CANI) and Embria Health Sciences, while Unigen Pharmaceuticals and Caps Canada sponsored session breaks. Evening happy hours were sponsored by Blue California and iBioceuticals; each event included hosted beverages and snacks. On Tuesday night, Kyowa Hakko sponsored a dinner at the Caleo Resort & Spa. Wednesday's Mexican lunch was sponsored by EuroPharma, while Thursday's deli lunch was sponsored by LycoRed. That evening brought participants back together for a dessert and cordial reception sponsored by American Botanicals.

On the last day of the conference, Focus on the Future participants enjoyed a hosted bar and lunch in a private corporate tent on the 18th hole of the FBR Open. The special event was co-sponsored by Chrysantis, National Enzyme Company, E.T. Horn Co. and Lesaffre Group.

"Focus on the Future grows every year and we see a great mix of new faces and attendees who have participated in all four Focus on the Future events," said Peggy Jackson, director of publishing for Virgo Publishing. "The stellar education and event program coupled with the Scottsdale backdrop make this conference stand out."

For information on upcoming Virgo Publishing events, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West and Focus on the Future, contact Peggy Jackson at (480) 990-1101 ext. 1157 or [email protected]. Information is also available by visiting

Virgo Publishing produces the SupplySide Trade Shows and Conferences, the Focus on the Future Executive Conference and Retreat, and the online training Web site; and publishes Natural Products INSIDER, Food Product Design and HSR: Health Supplement Retailer magazines.


Amy Sharman , Marketing and Communications Manager
Phone: 480-990-1101, ext. 1543
E-mail: [email protected]

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